Google launched Google Maps 6.0 on Tuesday and introduced indoor directions. Google Maps can now be used indoors the same way it is outdoors: to find directions to your destination, whether that be an ATM or the gate of your flight. Aside from that not much has changed, a little blue dot will move along with you to show you where you are, and the technology is even able to know what floor you are on. Being able to sense which floor you’re on at the mall is what Steve Lee, director of product management for Google, refers to as “the third dimension of mapping.”
The new version is available for mobile devices running on Android OS 2.1 and up. The lists of indoor mapped locations is still limited, mainly big outlet stores such as IKEA or Macy’s or one of 18 airports that dot the US such as O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and San Francisco International airport. Unfortunately LAX and JFK are still unavailable so far. Other locations include the big names in shopping like Bloomingdales and Home Depot. Just like its interior maps of airports, Google Maps is limited in its stores as well. Missing are stores such as Target and Walmart. Malls are included but those are few and far between at the moment. This is after all the introduction of indoor maps and Google has very ambitious plans for the future of the new feature. As Lee continues, “While we are super proud of this launch, it is still a small slice of indoor public spaces in the world. The goal is to get to where we can deliver detailed maps for all indoor spaces.”
As mentioned before the 6.0 version with indoor mapping is available to Android users. There doesn’t seem to be a specific timetable in place for when it will be available for iPhone users.
So this holiday season, if you have an Android powered device, have no fear of holiday shopping! You can always find your way through the densely packed crowds at the mall with Google Maps 6.0.